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Jul 26 2011
But the current debate has its very own hall of shame. It starts with President Barack Obama’s budget, which ignored his own bipartisan, Simpson-Bowles debt commission recommendations. That far-reaching and smart commission report made clear that there is a solution to this country’s debt, but that solution has to include entitlement adjustments (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) along with military and non-military spending cuts and some sort of new revenue. The president’s budget earlier this year paid too little heed to the needs laid out by his own commission.
Jul 26 2011
Substantial ideas have been put forward. Look at some of the proposals that have emerged from the Senate's Gang of Six: Democrats Mark Warner, Kent Conrad and Dick Durbin and Republicans Tom Coburn, Mike Crapo and Saxby Chambliss. We'd be loopy to not enact these ideas, now or later.
Jul 22 2011
Co-chair of the deficit-reduction commission Alan Simpson on debt and his gun-toting grandpa.
Jul 21 2011
The "Gang of Six" bipartisan proposal to end the ongoing debate over raising the federal debt ceiling would include a $500 billion "down payment" on deficit reduction. A big chunk of that would come from changing the way the government measures inflation. One of the advocates for the switch is Marc Goldwein, who was a staffer for President Obama's fiscal commission. He is now a senior policy analyst at the New America Foundation. To explain the proposal, I asked Goldwein to join me on a shopping trip at the Safeway grocery a few blocks from the NPR offices in Washington, D.C.
Jul 20 2011
THE GANG OF SIX may have turned, belatedly, into a mob. That is good news with a dangerous twist. It’s good news that a significant number of senators, from both parties, appear poised to sign on to a 10-year, $3.7 trillion deficit reduction framework released Tuesday and hailed by President Obama as “broadly consistent” with the grand bargain on spending cuts and tax increases that he had been trying to broker. Dangerous in that, unfortunately, this potential breaking of the Senate logjam comes with so little time remaining to lift the debt ceiling. The challenge in the next few days will be to build on the newfound momentum of the gang, until recently moribund, without jeopardizing whatever immediate arrangements need to be made to raise the debt limit.
Jul 20 2011
Six stalwart U.S. senators delivered yesterday the outlines of an intelligent and ambitious deficit- reduction proposal. It is, as President Barack Obama succinctly said, “good news” -- at a time when some is needed. The bipartisan “Gang of Six” plan takes the sensible policy framework of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal-reform commission and turns it into a workable package for the Senate to consider.
Jul 20 2011
We’re not quite at zero hour in the protracted fight over the nation’s debt and debt ceiling, but we’re close enough to fear any mention of Aug. 2. That’s when the borrowing would stop and the U.S. would face calamitous choices on paying bills, writing checks and possibly capsizing world financial markets. And that’s why the proposal that started to emerge Tuesday from the bipartisan Gang of Six senators is the last, best hope for using this painful debate as a way to control spending and reform the tax code. This compromise plan could get us past default concerns and finally rein in a national debt long past $14 trillion.
Jul 14 2011
As we are less than 30 days away on the debt ceiling to keep the government running, the Erskine Bowles-Alan Simpson debt committee plan may be the best way to keep government spending and loopholes in check to control this runaway deficit.
Jul 13 2011
At the festival, sponsored jointly by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic magazine, many spoke enthusiastically about a list of recommendations for a debt solution hammered together last December by a bipartisan committee chaired by retired Senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton administration economic adviser Erskine Bowles. Those recommendations call not only for tax reform but for fixes to the budget process, Social Security, health care spending in the private and public sectors and an increase in mandatory retirement-savings programs.
Jul 12 2011
A bipartisan framework for compromise already exists, courtesy of the fiscal commission co-chaired by former University of North Carolina system President Erskine Bowles. Its final report, which recommended a balance of sharp spending cuts and moderate tax increases, represents the type of consensus solution that both sides would do well to embrace.